Our History

Celebrating 125 Years

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Celebrating 125 years – Blackpool Grand 1894 to 2019.


Throughout 2019, the theatre saw a range of star-studded events, record audience figures and played host to some of the UK’s top West End plays. The theatre took on a major fundraising campaign to help fund repair work to the iconic Grade II* listed building.


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To celebrate the landmark year, Blackpool Grand began with a special anniversary event in January 2019 which saw more than 350 people from across the country attend, including a host of celebrities such as Coronation Street star Lucy Fallon, actor Tom Lister and former Emmerdale and ex EastEnders actress, Cheryl Fergison.


Following this, the theatre held a special birthday party event later in the year for the Friends of The Grand, who helped save the theatre. In the late 70’s and 80’s The Friends fundraised to purchase the building from E.M.I who were using it as a bingo hall, and reopening Blackpool’s Grand as a centre for the arts in 1980. They have since played a pivotal role in supporting and fundraising for the Theatre ever since.


Celebrating 125 Years – A very special night was arranged, ‘An audience with Sir Ian McKellen’, where Sir Ian agreed that all profits would go towards the fundraising target. The to-the-gods sell-out performance offered exclusive VIP tickets where guests could meet Sir Ian after the show and the theatre extended special £12.50 tickets for 18 to 26-year-olds in an online lottery.


The celebratory events culminated in a royal visit in October with Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex GCVO coming to Blackpool Grand to meet a selection of the people who have helped restore and operate the resort’s iconic building.


Celebrating 125 Years – Some of the highlights in terms of shows, included The Woman in Black, a spine-tingling drama which has been a huge West End hit and Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, starring Susan Penhaligon and a pantomime staring Tom Lister, Steve Royle and Jack Heasman which had surprise special guests including comedian Peter Kay, actor Lucy Fallon and Les Dawson’s daughter Charlotte Dawson.


2019 saw the theatre launch its own production company, Blackpool Grand Productions Limited, and create a summer show, Around the World in 80s Days. The show was developed to both raise the Blackpool Grand profile and to celebrate the 125 Birthday. It was a huge critical success.



To celebrate the 125th Anniversary, Blackpool Grand launched a new loyalty programme called the ‘1894 Club’. The membership offers members discounts on shows and local attractions, as well as access to a new 1894 Cub Box in the main theatre.


Throughout the year the theatre looked to raise money to help repair the building. The famous dome of Blackpool Grand suffered considerable damage in 2017 when Storm Doris came to Blackpool’s shores, meaning work is needed to reinstate the roof to its original condition and further funds are needed to improve the theatre itself.


Blackpool Grand set a target of £125,000 and has run a number of fundraising activities, from special events, selling limited edition 125 rose gold lapel badges, running a year-long draw (with over £8,000 worth of prizes) and offering a ‘pay what you feel’ option on selected shows, with the proceeds going to the fund.



The theatre created a very special timeline celebrating 125 years of the iconic Blackpool Grand and what other events were occurring nationally and worldwide. The theatre team has committed to updating the timeline each year as they discover more about its glorious history.


Ruth Eastwood, Chief Executive at Blackpool Grand, added:


It has been an incredible year for The Grand, with some fantastic events, fundraising, shows and even a Royal visit.  We wanted to make celebrating 125 years a delight, we think we achieved that.


Fundraising efforts continue until 23 July 2020 when we reach the 126th Birthday of Blackpool Grand.

A full year of celebrations.”


Visit our timeline Story.